Structural remediation works to gable wall at Llandudno

Back in 2012, Church Growth Trust were gifted a church building in Llandudno.  Originally it was known as Bethesda Chapel, having changed its name many years ago to West Shore Baptist Church.

The building includes the original stone chapel, which has a double-height worship space, with single storey extensions to the front and side containing ancillary accommodation.

More recently it had been noted that cracks were appearing within the render high up on the front gable wall of the stone chapel, where it rises above the single storey flat roofed extension to the front. As the cracks were getting worse, CGT engaged a structural engineer to investigate. Working alongside a local contractor, they opened a hatch to access the loft space and removed sections of the finish to the gable wall to get sight of the problem.

The investigation revealed that a steel beam buried within the existing gable wall construction at high-level had delaminated and expanded significantly beyond its original size. This was most likely caused by exposure to moisture, meaning that the enlarged beam was crushing the brickwork around it, and cracking the render.

Leaving this existing beam in place was not an option given its condition and the destabilising effect it was having on the wall around it. However, the removal of this beam could not be carried out in isolation as a pair of beams at a lower level, were insufficient to support the weight of the gable wall.

A local structural engineer was then instructed, who added two new strengthening beams to the underside of the existing beams at the head of the opening into the main worship space. These were temporarily propped whilst new pad stone supports were created for the new beams at either side of the opening. With the new beams supporting the weight of the gable masonry wall above, the old defective steel beam was cut out in small sections and replaced with blockwork. The old, cracked render was removed from the affected sections and a new finish was applied and repainted.

Whilst much of the works were covered up and therefore unseen, they were critical to the stability of the external walls of the building. The contractor did an excellent job, and upon completion of the structural works, was retained to redecorate the walls and ceiling of the main worship area.

We hope and pray that these essential repair works carried out to the building will secure its use as a place of worship into the future and will continue to provide the church with a secure base in which to focus on their Gospel outreach work within their local community.